Research and Graduate Education Programs

Published April 8, 2020

Dear Faculty, Postdoctoral Scholars and Graduate Students:

Because of the extraordinary ongoing efforts of our faculty and staff, we are successfully delivering our spring courses through remote instruction and continuing to address related challenges as they arise. However, we realize that the effort to transition to remote instruction – as well as limited access to labs, archives, studios, and field and clinical locations – have disrupted faculty, postdoctoral, and graduate student research and scholarship. In addition, the COVID-19 situation is posing unique challenges and causing anxiety for graduate students and postdoctoral scholars who are preparing to enter a disrupted job market.

As a public research university, it is important that UB focus attention on the challenges that our faculty, research staff, postdocs, and graduate students are experiencing as a result of the COVID-19 disruption. To that end, I am forming a Research and Graduate Education Task Force, which will be led by Vice President for Research and Economic Development Venu Govindaraju and Vice Provost for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Graduate School Graham Hammill.  This task force will be charged with delivering recommendations by May 8, 2020 on issues that include:

  • Ensuring that research and scholarship across the university continues to the greatest extent possible while safeguarding the health of the campus community
  • Understanding the impacts on maintaining laboratory research if we experience a prolonged restriction to research facilities
  • Sustaining future research and scholarship opportunities by facilitating and helping faculty maintain successful grant and fellowship applications
  • Preparing TAs to balance instruction in this new environment with the need to maintain progress on their research and dissertations
  • Considering opportunities for maintaining retention and completion in graduate degree programs
  • Understanding and mitigating the impact of the COVID-19 situation on the future careers of graduate students and postdocs when there are likely to be hiring pauses across the economy, including in higher education
  • Understanding the unique needs of international students and providing accommodations to the best of our ability

Now more than ever, it is critical for faculty, postdocs and graduate students to utilize available technology to maintain close working relationships so that, as a campus community, we can continue the significant progress we have made in increasing grant applications, scholarly productivity, clinical care, and research impact. Even in the face of the current challenges, I know that we all share the goal of sustaining this strong research momentum by reopening our research facilities and reengaging in our scholarship as soon as possible. We will do so but must maintain our first priority, which is to protect the health and well-being of all members of the campus community. I look forward to the recommendations of the Research and Graduate Education Task Force to insure that we do everything we can to meet your needs.

Thanks to all of you for your continued efforts to sustain your scholarly activity during this challenging time.



A. Scott Weber                                                                                      Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs